“I am majoring in finance, but I’m worried about finding jobs in finance after I graduate. Should I change my college major?”
One of the biggest reasons for going to college is to acquire a degree that will provide you with better job opportunities and better pay. When the economy is suffering and unemployment rises, students often become concerned that their education may not be their ticket to success. In fact, immediately after the financial crisis and the dramatic events that took place on Wall Street, many students intending to go into the financial sector decided to pursue other college majors. But, should they have? You might be wondering if you should change your college major due to economic conditions. A review of the following questions should help you decide:
Your College Major Q&A
- What were your reasons for choosing your college major?
- Have you researched your industry?
- Have you considered the financial impact of changing your major?
When you chose your major you were looking to gain some expertise in a particular field, but are you in love with it? Your interests, skills, and talents should be guiding your decision toward a particular course of study, rather than how much money people in your field are predicted to make or how in-demand the jobs are. Why? Without a deep interest in your subject area, what are the chances you will be successful through your studies or career? Even if you do muddle through, how happy will you be in your job? Not only is getting a college education a pathway to better pay and increased opportunities in the job market, but it should also give you access to careers you enjoy. A college education can elevate you from simply getting a paycheck for showing up to a “job” to building a career you enjoy with financial reward on top of it. So, if you picked your major based on any factors other than your interests and strengths, by all means, consider a change as soon as possible.
Unfortunately many students don’t spend the time to do industry research prior to choosing a college major. It’s never too late to start reading up on your intended field. Consider all of the options available for someone with your degree. Your potential may be more than you realize. Industry needs change all the time. While the position you originally envisioned may no longer be a “hot” job, a new one, with many of the same required skills may have taken its place. If you truly desire a career in your major, find out what’s available to you and what employers require. You probably won’t need to change your college major, but will know how to steer your education and experience (internships, volunteering, clubs/organizations, part-time jobs) in the right direction. Consider this example: while the financial crisis caused many to lose jobs in finance, the crisis ultimately creates financial jobs in its wake like those that involve auditing, fraud investigation, and risk management.
While it isn’t unusual for students to change their college major, many don’t consider the financial impact of doing so. If you’re concerned about jobs and salary when you graduate then you’re concerned about money. Changing your college major often results in having to spend extra semesters in college. You’re paying tuition longer and you’re delaying a full-time salary. You shouldn’t choose or change your major on a whim. Depending on the field you want to go into, changing your major may not even be necessary. Talk to people who have been in their careers for a while. Find out what their majors were in college and take a look at how they’re employed today. It won’t be uncommon to find many are in careers that have nothing to do with their college major. You need to evaluate how important it is to make the change.
Remember, recessions come and go. Trends run their course. Technology changes. No matter which career you go into, you will need to evolve if you want to succeed. If you want to be at the top of your industry, you’ll need to be ahead of the curve. The only way to do this is to continue to educate yourself, acquire new skills, and set and achieve your career goals. The college major that is perfectly suited to the best jobs in the best job market will never guarantee success. It’s not the degree you have, but what you do with it that counts.